PENDER ISLAND, BC—I want to commend your achievement here in pulling off this tricky assignment—the right thing to do at the present moment and very aptly done here. Your article about “Standing for Tolerance and Liberty” hits so many of the right buttons—not least in drawing attention to the fact that when Churchill uses the word “race” it does not fit at all with today’s template. I looked up “race” in the Oxford English Dictionary (“on historical principles”), and it duly confirms, with a whole column of references, that the historic use in Shakespeare, Milton, et al. has the emphasis on ancestry, heredity, and propagation of a supposed “breed”—much more John of Gaunt’s “This blessed isle” speech in Richard II than the racial doctrines of our own day; and this historic usage, with its self-consciously elevated diction, is what Churchill usually meant—though he also lapsed sometimes in ways that we would now find offensive.—Peter Clarke
Peter Clarke is a former Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. His many books include Mr. Churchill’s Profession (2012).
LONDON—I am so pleased to read a book [Churchill & Son by Josh Ireland] that portrays my Uncle Randolph, of whom I was very fond, in a reasonably sympathetic light. Although he was undoubtedly impossible much of the time, he had a brilliant mind and a generous nature.
It would be hard to find anyone who admired and loved his father as much as Randolph did. I frequently heard him say, “I love that man.”
Celia Sandys is Honorary President of the International Churchill Society–United Kingdom and author of the forthcoming memoir Churchill’s Little Redhead about her relationship with her grandfather Sir Winston S. Churchill.
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